The Judge Archetype

Before reading about the Judge archetype, you may wish to read the introductory article on archetypes (see the box to the right).

Did you know that within each and every one of us there resides a rulebook. It's an internal rulebook that has evolved from your lifetime of experiences and is filled with the do's and don'ts by which you run your life. The rulebook that contains your beliefs, values and attitudes.

The problem is that we each have a slightly different rulebook, and many of the rules we have in our rulebook we don't even realize are running our lives. And, it is these differing (and often hidden from our conscious mind) rules, that create so much of the conflict in the workplace, at home and in the community. In fact, the vast majority of conflict in any organization is, at the root of it, a conflict in beliefs.

Let's pry in to your rulebook for the moment. What are some of the rules that you grew up with? You may possibly be familiar with rules such as ...

  • Only speak when spoken to
  • Don't talk with your mouth full
  • Respect your elders
  • Don't tell lies
  • Be on time

Maybe some of these rules resonate for you, maybe not. It will depend upon the influencers around you as you grew up, and what their rulebook says is okay. For example, in many countries it is expected that people belch after a meal to prove their satisfaction with the meal. In other countries this would be seen as the height of bad manners.

In life there are some good rules - like 'be courteous to people in the street' - like 'don't get drunk on the job' - these are the types of rules that we need for society to function. But there are many, many, many rules that are  just plain dumb and have very little to do with making society tick, and a lot to do with people trying to control others.

Without you even being consciously aware of it, your inner self is constantly using this rule book - containing the values, attitudes and beliefs that you have picked up from your family and friends - to decide what is right, what is wrong, what is acceptable, what is unacceptable.

I'd like to introduce you to this inner part of yourself, which is known as the Judge Archetype.

Who Is The Judge Archetype?

The Judge Archetype, is the voice residing within you that you are probably very familiar with, in fact so familiar that you possibly don't even realize just how much s/he rules your world.

book of rulesThe Judge is the critical inner voice that constantly finds fault and rejects. In fact, you are filled with judgments about yourself, your children, your partner, your co-workers, your neighbors, and even the people you pass on the street.

Your judge, armed with his or her rule book, robs you of your peace of mind with endless criticism about what you, or others, should do or should have done, about how you should be, how you should act, how much money you should make, how you should be in a relationship - every way that you should be and act is in that rulebook.

Your Judge wants you to look good, to conform, to act, to dress, to speak in acceptable ways ... in other words, to fit in. The fear of being rejected is so strong, that the Judge frantically works to keep you inside the safety zone, stopping your from stepping outside the boundaries to where you could get hurt. (Hurt emotionally, not physically).

Certainly, the Judge has a different impact on each of us. A bit like the volume on your stereo, for some the Judge is loud and blaring, for others they have learned to turn the volume down and it is a gentle hum in the background... but still its noise is always with us. So it is certainly worth discovering more about the Judge archetype and how to limit its negative impact.

What Is The Greatest Fear of Every Person?


Rejection. Numerous studies have shown that people's #1 fear is Public Speaking, what's that a fear of?


It is the fear that people aren’t going to find me good enough.
Protecting you from rejection is what the judge holds as its very noble purpose. To protect you and stop you from being hurt.

Every single human-being at their inner core wants to be loved and accepted.

But, unless you start by loving yourself, you certainly can’t expect to be loved and approved of by others.

And, this is ultimately what your judge archetype teaches you. That the only person who can reject you is you. The judge is all about helping you to learn about acceptance and forgiveness and love for yourself and then for others.

Have you ever woken up at 2 a.m. thinking, "Why was I so stupid? "Why did I do this or Why did I say that?" "What was I thinking ..." This is the voice of your Judge. We often punish ourselves over and over for the same mistake, which sets a belief deep in your sub-conscious that you are not worthy or capable.

We are the only animal that punishes ourselves over and over and over for a mistake. If a lion is chasing an antelope and misses it, does it brood and say to itself, over and over, 'You are such an idiot how could you miss that'. Of course not - the lion simply goes, 'Where's the next antelope!' Unfortunately, humans tend to have a bad habit of replaying our mistakes over and over.

We've got to learn to stop judging ourselves and others so harshly and simply become more accepting.

You must look at your mistakes, but rather than wasting energy scolding yourself, your focus must be to learn from your mistakes and focus on what you are going to do differently next time.

Left Unchecked The Judge Costs You Dearly

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the influence and control the judge exerts over them, and when unchecked the damage it can do.

Like all archetypes most of these conversations and reactions happen deep in your sub-conscious, and when you don't learn how to manage the Judge's criticism it can cost you dearly and lower your performance.

Breakthrough Reflection Monitor what you say to yourself and others. When you hear your inner judge being critical or negative, stop and reframe the words.

For example, if you hear yourself thinking, "I am so stupid!" stop and rethink that statement. Are you really stupid? Of course not. Instead tell yourself, "I am a smart person. I may make mistakes from time to time, but I learn from those mistakes, which enhances my wealth of experience and wisdom."

During the next week focus on being kinder and more uplifting to yourself.

The Significant Power The Judge Wields In Your Relationships

Whilst, so far we've focused primarily on judging yourself and your own performance, know that the Judge also wields a significant amount of power over your reactions to others. The minute someone does something that breaks the rules in your personal rulebook, you notch up a mark against them. If you are a leader in an organization this can be a very dangerous thing.

How does it feel if you have someone judging you or disapproving of you? What fear does it kick off for you? Of course, it is probably triggering that deeply hidden fear "I'm going to be rejected".

When you stand in judgment of another, it can make it very difficult to bring out the greatness in them. Because in judging someone all we are doing is triggering his or her primal fear: "I'm not good enough".

judge-flee-fightAs you know, when people are feeling under threat, they do one of two things, they fight or they flee. If you want that response, from the people that you work with, then go ahead, stand in judgment.

However, if you really want people to be at their best, aligning with their potential, then you'll need to do something different.

Certainly, if someone is under-performing, you don't ignore the problem. Successful High Performance Leaders discuss the performance, BUT without standing in judgment. It has a 'charge-neutral' feel to it.

With practice, you can recognize when another person has engaged your Judge, and turn to the high performance option, which is to

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